Google GOOG -0.57%↓ last week said it plans to merge its Geo staff with that of the company’s 500-employee Waze navigation app group, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google, which acquired Waze nearly 10 years ago, said it was under pressure to reduce costs and be more productive by merging “overlapping product areas.”
Google’s Geo group, led by Christopher Phillips, oversees its Maps, Earth and Street View product lines. For its part, Waze will see its CEO, Neha Parikh, exit after a transition period, according to reports. Google said doesn’t plan any layoffs and will operate Waze as a stand-alone service.
Following a regulatory review, Google acquired Waze in 2013 for $1.1 billion. At the time, it was the largest location company purchase, rivaling 2007 when TomTom [Tom2] purchased Tele Atlas and Nokia NOK 0.40%↑bought Navteq, which became HERE Technologies.
At the time, Mike Dobson, TeleMapics president, said that Google bought Waze, rather than TomTom and HERE Technologies, because of quality issues. “I think the answer to this question is quite plain. Google did not participate in either acquisition because it had tried both companies’ data and found that the content quality and spatial coverage was not quite what Google had set as goals when developing its strategy for mapping,” he said. “Instead, Google built its own ‘map machine’ and has managed to out-innovate either of these companies over the last several years.”